Friday, April 26, 2013

Bang Camaro's Easter Show, Where my Son Nick and Vocalist Nate Went Missing

Speaking of terrorist hijackings, do you remember how in the 60s and 70s that was all terrorists could do? No one worried about an Underwear Bomber or concealed knives and C-4 inside sneakers or nerve gas sprinkled in greeting cards.  

Back In The Day, we were just afraid that our planes might be hijacked to Cuba, causing a delay.

Those were good times.

Meanwhile that is not what this evening's post is about.

 This post is about EASTER!  I love writing posts about Religious Holidays and I sort of forgot to update you on Easter, which was not precisely the Easter I had planned in my musings.  I'd planned on being out of the country, and when I found myself still here, I pretty much threw a ham together and went out with a couple of my kids to play Viking Chess.  It was uneventful, but fun. This forces me to offer a retrospective humorous vignette about an Easter from my past.  Let's get to it, shall we?

(…This Easter, Jesus Had Nothin on Them)
Easter: a deeply spiritual Christian holiday, punctuated by Mystical Bunnies who lay chocolate eggs and colored bonnets in the yards of unsuspecting children. 

A time of renewal and rebirth.

And this year, a time to traipse to Philadelphia to enjoy Bang Camaro’s Spiritual Easter-Eve Show.  In fact, this Easter we experienced Resurrection Itself via the Very Missing For Eighteen Hours Nick Given and Nate Wells – each of whom draws breath because, this Easter, I let them live.

This… is their Holy Story.
“Carolyn,” gushed our children’s father, several weeks ago, “Did you hear about Jake and Zach?”
“I’m making a sandwich for lunch and I have to concentrate. Is this important?”
“Well, only if you consider Jake and Zach BEING IN BANG CAMARO WITH THEIR BROTHER, NICK, IM PORT ANT … WOO HOOO!!”
“Did someone die?”
“Um, they had a NEED for two BC Choir-ists and our own SONS were—”
“Who quit?”
“I don’t know.  Aren’t you EXCITED about your S—”
“I wanna know who quit and if it’s temporary or permanent but I have to go cuz of the mayonnaise and the meat.”

That was how the Unconfirmed Deaths of Nick and Nate began.
Once news was confirmed that Zachary and Jacob had officially been added to the BC Choir Roster, AND that the Easter-Weekend Tour to New York then Philadelphia was on with all three of our boys included, the GIVEN FAMILY-CAMARO WAS DOWN, AGAIN!  Only this time, we didn’t have to drive Zach and Jake to the shows since they were IN them. They Rode The Camaro-Convoy in the professional driving-hands of Nate Wells with Nick Given as Co-Pilot … like God and Jesus Christ.

What could possibly go wrong?
Nothing went wrong en route to NY.  And the NY show was to die for, though, technically, no one did. This performance was the second where the Givens-Three performed together without us in attendance, and both shows were HITS! Could everything go RIGHT with us IN AUDIENCE??

We believed so.

Which is why we boarded a Philadelphia-bound plane the morning of the Philly Debut with Abby, and Jess McGuire – our adopted Given daughter – both in tow. (Notice how her name begins with the letters Jes ??)

Once our plane touched ground and we bustled into the hotel, Jessie discovered she’d left her green purse-satchel on the airport-to-hotel shuttle … a deja-vu replay of my New York LEAVING OF OVERNIGHT BAG IN MASSACHUSETTS last November. I took this as a sign, and sent up to the Rock Gods a Prayer of Thanksgiving for this Portend of Good Things To Come.

Within minutes, Jessie’s purse was resurrected and delivered unto her, and we cried out, “Amen.”
That evening would hold another miracle with Dinner Reservations hours before kick-off of the Philly Show. We’d reserved a table for 7 at a restaurant across the street from the Khyber venue. *DISCLAIMER: The Given Family WELCOMES Spontaneous Dinner Guests (which Given-Camaro-Bros brought) but which Evil Restaurants Who Depend on Actual Reservation NUMBERS… Do Not.

Before our eyes, a rotating choreography of musical chairs afforded our ensemble sufficient time and space for all apostles to eat … almost together.  It was the Loaves and the Fishes… at the Last Supper.

Given this Rock-Solid Beginning, how could I have EVER questioned the safety of Nick and Nate when they Went Hopelessly Missing for Eighteen Hours After the Philly Show?

The Easter-Eve Philly Show was a phenomenon. The crowd was ecstatic, engaged, enraged (did Dirty Dan or Diamond Dick die that night?) arriving steeped in Camaro-lyrics and accompanied by celebrities such as ALEX’S MOM AND BROTHER, AND ALEX’S IN-LAWS WHO KNEW NOTHING OF THE ACTUAL CAMARO CAR THE BAND GAVE HIM AS A WEDDING GIFT but rest easy Alex cuz I told them. Also there was a girl in studded skull-and-crossbones T-shirt that matched my hat, attending with half dozen of her friends who’d seen the northeast Comcast promo of BC who fell SO in love with this band, they were prepared to convoy to Boston. Fortunately, they conveniently lived in Philly this particular Easter weekend.

Best of all was my proximity to Bang Camaro Documentarian, Rob, grabbing video of multiply poignant Philadelphian moments. I was positioned up front, just behind Rob, but technically beneath him due to height-disparity which brought my face to precision-armpit level and I have to tell you: Rob smells wonderful.  All evening I enjoyed his deodorant fragrance and hoped to learn its name.

The evening ended with Pete and Jake dancing with Abby, Nate convincing her to purchase a drum kit and take lessons, Nick dancing with me, last call happened, the Camaro Van was being loaded. And that is when the Badness began.

Jake and Zach were joining us back at our hotel, then flying with us to Providence Easter morning.  Nick and Nate would convoy back to the Fant’s house in New Jersey, then we’d all connect by phone Easter afternoon and settle on a restaurant rendezvous at suppertime. (Since I’d apparently agreed to adopt Nate, Graeme and Doz that evening, I excitedly made mental restaurant-reservations for 11 that could be bumped to 13 without stress or need for miracles.)

At 2:00 AM, Nick and Nate headed off to the parking garage with Zach and Jake to retrieve their overnight things. 

Four of them entered the garage. 

Only two would emerge.

Meanwhile, Jess, Abs and I had hailed a cab and climbed aboard, so when the two boys approached the car with their gear and boarded with their dad, it seemed natural to call into the darkness, ‘Safe trip, Nick and Nate! See you Easter afternoon,’ as we sped into the night.

Easter morning involved check-out and Easter brunch and a rush to our flight and Zachary being patted down and detained by Homeland Security. (They released him). Then came the near-crash landing in Providence. This still felt pretty natural.

The phone call Jake made to fellow Camaro-ists at 4:45PM after no one had heard from Nick was not, however, natural. It seems Nick’s third Pink Razor Cell in about as many days supernaturally died and Nate, of course, the Given that he’d become, left his cell in Massachusetts.

Jake on cell w/Clifford:  “Yeah, so since Nick and Nate have no phones, we’re wondering if maybe they could borrow one of yours so we can plan an Easter rendezvous with them and--     Oh.   Really.   No kidding.   Eh, no, dude, we left them in the parking garage after the show.   Huh.  Well, okay, then – thanks.”


“What’s up?”
“Mom, I’m sure it’s nothing, but it seems Nick and Nate never made it to the Fant’s in New Jersey last night. And ahh – apparently everyone at the Fant’s figured they’d stayed at our hotel in Philly.”
“I see.”
“I’m sure they’re fine.”
“Mom, they’re FINE,” yelled Zach. “They’re FINE,” smiled Abby and Jess.

We drove in silence from Providence to Douglas, each absorbed by his own personal hypothesis on Nick and Nate’s demise.

I won’t prolong the agony. Naturally, they were fine. But just yesterday when I was reading the Boston Herald’s write-up on Nick’s band The Vershok releasing a new CD, I closed the paper and was assaulted by the 150-point, bold front page headline, WHERE IS MY SON?  with subhead: Anguished Mom’s Desperate Plea.  See Disappearance, page 7.  While Nick and Nate evaded police across three state lines and countless counties to arrive in our driveway at 8PM, not all families are so… lucky.

But Nick and Nate are too Rock-Crazy for sad fates to befall them. And we enjoyed this notion in the three-hour wait between discovering they’d gone missing, and when they rolled in alive.  Some of us used laptops to look up Mercedes SUV mileage and crash-test ratings; others phoned the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and alerted four sets of state police that Nate Wells’ car was “overdue.” We exchanged witty, bemusing tragedy-free scenarios that might have caused delay. (Please note that each proved true. In fact, Nate and Nick would relay additional events that Chevy Chase -- on Fudgeweisers -- with Hardening of the Arteries -- could never fancy in his wildest musings.)

Before I share Their Plight, huge thanks to the Local Douglas Police Authorities and their Heroic Dispatcher whom I contacted on the advice of a Boston-based State Policeman.  Our Douglas Dispatcher ran a Safety Check on Nate’s car – and checked on their status throughout Pennsylvania, NJ, NY and MA. (The New Jersey Turnpike Authority and their TRUSTY ANSWERING MACHINE were of no help, nor was the Philly PD or the PA, NJ and NY staties combined.)

Indeed, amid the incoming 911 calls where our dispatcher coordinated ambulances, fire trucks and rescue choppers to quell area-disasters, he managed to extract the following Nick and Nate data:

  • A white Mercedes SUV had, in fact, experienced “difficulty” – but it wasn’t registered to Nate Wells.  PHEW!
  • Nate was born on Christmas Eve in the late 70’s; his parents live in Vermont.
  • He has no outstanding warrants; he has no criminal record.
  • The same could not be said for our son, Nicholas.
  • Nate has an active, viable driver’s license and no recent moving violations.
  • The same could not be said for our son, Nicholas.
  • We know the VIN number of Nate Well’s Mercedes SUV, which our dispatcher learned had been tagged for tow in Philadelphia. (How come the Philly Police Force was unable to extract THAT data but 300 miles away our fearless dispatcher acquired it in one keystroke I ask you, HUH?)
  • Nate’s car is registered legally in Massachusetts, is insured, and is in his name.
  • Nick’s last cell phone call was made early the previous morning – then All Went Silent – according to the report our Dispatching Wizard obtained from Verizon itself.
  • Neither Nick nor Nate nor their dismembered body parts had turned up on even a single of the involved highways where state police were summoned to crash scenes.

The list below comprises scenarios we all GUESSED CORRECTLY had taken place – as well as outlandish events too bizarre for conscious thought that Nick and Nate swore actually happened.

To distinguish between each category, I have placed a smiley face :) after those situations we’d accurately predicted.  The frowns :( are for those ADDITIONAL events that actually took place, despite all laws of physics and human decency.

  • Nick and Nate got lost trying to leave the parking garage :) -- asked local STREET WANDERERS for directions back to the Khyber :( several times:) :) only to find themselves WAY outside the city limits hopelessly lost.  :) (The muffled giggles from the Street Wanderers echo through Philly today.)
  • Nick and Nate genuinely drove for hours, in circles :) still hoping to find the Khyber :) where the Camaro Convoy last was.  By this time, The Camaro Convoy had been in sleeping bags at the Fant’s in New Jersey for more than half an hour. :)
  • Nick and Nate Drove and Drove Until The Day-Moon Rise… :)
  • Which is when they ran out of gas :)
  • After getting gasoline –then an Italian Sub -- :(  Nick discovered he’d managed to park between two intractable barriers at such an angle that it was impossible to get the SUV out :(
  • After an 18-point turn, they were back on the road :(
  • They decided to check into a motel :)
  • It was a motel harboring a troupe of cute, black transvestites :(
  • The notion of learning to use a Pay Phone to alert the BC or families as to a “delay” never occurred to either of them :)
  • In fact, they told themselves that if they JUST woke up early enough and drove safely, NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW. :)
  • And when they DID wake up at 11 AM :) and got back on the road with maps and directions :)they realized they were in VISUAL SIGHT… of the Khyber :(

By 7:55PM, I’d started absently braiding and unbraiding a lock of bang-hair to release tension.

At 7:59, Zach peered through the diningroom window then perked up, “There they are! They’re pulling into the driveway now!”

From the kitchen someone said, “They are Risen.”

Apparently I DID adopt Nate Wells.  In my Relief-Hysteria where I threw open Nate’s car-door and shoved my braid at his face screaming “DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS NATE THIS IS A STRESS BRAID” then burst into tears – Nate calmly responded as would any Given.  “But neither of us had a PHONE.”

You know, I am reminded of a lovely church hymn from my childhood:
              As it was in the beginning –
               Is now and ever shall be: 
                Nick & Nate … Without End
                    Making Amends …

(Also the anthem, Fists Up If You Believe in Us.  I’ll never doubt again.)

  Thanks again to Douglas PD… (and the Rock Gods who smile upon us).
                                  xxxxxxxxoooooooo –cg